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Cavs Win Game 1 Over Magic with Defense

Cavs Game 1 Playoffs
Photo by Jayson Richardson

Cleveland Oh. – The Cavs opened the NBA Playoffs with a pretty dominant win over the Orlando Magic, 97-83. We all saw last year’s playoffs and know how that ended, so the Cavs coming out and getting a big win even with some of the guys shooting poorly. The Cavs as a team shot 44% from the field. At one point they missed 18 straight threes. But overall, they figured out the defense, and made their presence felt on that end of the court and held the Orlando Magic to 83 points. This is just what the Cavs needed to kind of get the taste of last year’s playoffs out of their minds. They needed to instill confidence in themselves and get over the hump.

It was clear the Magic came in and tried to be physical with the Cavs. There were dust ups. There were techs given to guys. But in the words of coach JB Bickerstaff, “We stood our ground and didn’t get caught up in the shit.” 


The Cavs were able to withstand everything the Magic did today. They never trailed in this game and from the beginning set the tone that they were in control. Jarrett Allen and Evan Mobley made it a point to control the paint and glass. They finished with sixteen points apiece, but Allen grabbed 18 boards while Mobley grabbed 11 and had 3 blocks. They made life difficult for anyone coming inside.


Perhaps the unsung hero will be George Niang. While he didn’t have a great game shooting the ball. His defense on Magic star Paolo Banchero was great. Banchero had 24 points but was bothered all night whenever Niang came in. Niang and Strus, two key additions for the Cavs this past offseason, provided the little things for the Cavs while their shots weren’t falling. Those are the type of things that matter in a series. Both were plus 13 in their minutes and even though they combined for 12 points they were able to both put a mark on this game.

This was a great start. But the Cavs have to continue. They have to do this three more times before they can celebrate. But this was a great start.

Game 2 will be Monday night right back in Cleveland. Let’s see what the Cavs do for the encore!


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